Social Media as an Effective Tool for Authors Social Media is an author's best friend/worst enemy. This panel discusses how to maximize the benefits without the side effects. Time: Fri 04:00 pm Location: Embassy CD - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists:Moderator: Bill Fawcett, Anthony Francis, Tyra A Burton, Anya Martin, Trisha J. Wooldridge, James Nettles) When Life Intrudes Writers often seem impervious to their surroundings. But occasionally life throws us a problem we have to face head on. How do we manage career & crisis at the same time? Time: Fri 10:00 pm Location: Embassy CD - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Holly Sullivan McClure, Katherine Kurtz, Nancy Knight, Anthony Francis) Reading Session: Anthony Francis Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: Marietta - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Anthony Francis) Fightin' 'n' Writin' How to write realistic fight scenes--whether utilizing guns, edged weapons, martial arts...or something not yet invented. Time: Sat 10:00 pm Location: Embassy CD - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: John D. Ringo, Clay and Susan Griffith, Anthony Francis, Alison Sky Richards, R M Meluch) Stitch & Witch We are getting crafty for a bit. Feel free to bring projects to share or work on! While we explore the role that art, crafts, & hobbies play for characters & worlds. Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Embassy EF - Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: Jody Lynn Nye, Anthony Francis) Transformations: Shapeshifter Magic Urban Fantasy features many types of shapeshifters. Our panel of authors will discuss the type of magic used by their characters & where their inspiration regarding it is rooted. Time: Mon 11:30 am Location: Chastain 1-2 - Westin (Length: 1 Hour) (Tentative Panelists: D.R. Perry, Tina Glasneck, Jennifer St. Giles, Aaron Crash, Anthony Francis)When life intrudes? Oh, I got this. -the Centaur
Posts published in “Appearances”
"Robots in Montreal," eh? Sounds like the title of a Steven Moffat Doctor Who episode. But it's really ICRA 2019 - the IEEE Conference on Robotics and Automation, and, yes, there are quite a few robots!
My team presented our work on evolutionary learning of rewards for deep reinforcement learning, AutoRL, on Monday. In an hour or so, I'll be giving a keynote on "Systematizing Robot Navigation with AutoRL":
Keynote: Dr. Anthony Francis
Systematizing Robot Navigation with AutoRL: Evolving Better Policies with Better Evaluation
Abstract: Rigorous scientific evaluation of robot control methods helps the field progress towards better solutions, but deploying methods on robots requires its own kind of rigor. A systematic approach to deployment can do more than just make robots safer, more reliable, and more debuggable; with appropriate machine learning support, it can also improve robot control algorithms themselves. In this talk, we describe our evolutionary reward learning framework AutoRL and our evaluation framework for navigation tasks, and show how improving evaluation of navigation systems can measurably improve the performance of both our evolutionary learner and the navigation policies that it produces. We hope that this starts a conversation about how robotic deployment and scientific advancement can become better mutually reinforcing partners.
Bio: Dr. Anthony G. Francis, Jr. is a Senior Software Engineer at Google Brain Robotics specializing in reinforcement learning for robot navigation. Previously, he worked on emotional long-term memory for robot pets at Georgia Tech's PEPE robot pet project, on models of human memory for information retrieval at Enkia Corporation, and on large-scale metadata search and 3D object visualization at Google. He earned his B.S. (1991), M.S. (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, along with a Certificate in Cognitive Science (1999). He and his colleagues won the ICRA 2018 Best Paper Award for Service Robotics for their paper "PRM-RL: Long-range Robotic Navigation Tasks by Combining Reinforcement Learning and Sampling-based Planning". He's the author of over a dozen peer-reviewed publications and is an inventor on over a half-dozen patents. He's published over a dozen short stories and four novels, including the EPIC eBook Award-winning Frost Moon; his popular writing on robotics includes articles in the books Star Trek Psychology and Westworld Psychology. as well as a Google AI blog article titled Maybe your computer just needs a hug. He lives in San Jose with his wife and cats, but his heart will always belong in Atlanta. You can find out more about his writing at his website.
Looks like I'm on in 15 minutes! Wish me luck.
Good news, Edgeworlders! FROST MOON is on sale through the 15th!
FROST MOON is my first novel, the tale of Dakota Frost, a woman who can bring her tattoos to life, and her very first encounter with the sharp edges of the Edgeworld she's been dancing around all her adult life. She meets vampires and werewolves, weretigers and faerie, and soon is on the ride of her life when the police warn her about a serial killer attacking the magically tattooed near the full moon ... right when a werewolf asks her to tattoo a design on him. Is he the killer ... or the next victim?
Hail fellow adventurers! My first steampunk novel, Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, is on sale through the end of the month! The Ebook is only $0.99, so now's a great time to instantly gift yourself with a trip to Victoriana! You can find it at Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple, Google Books, or wherever fine books are sold. If you like action, adventure, corsets, rayguns, or a peek at an alternate history where women's liberation happened a century early, check it out!
Hail, fellow adventurers! If you want to experience our world the way Jeremiah Willstone and her friends first experienced it, there’s no better way than to come to Dragon Con in Atlanta! I’ve been going to Dragon Con longer than almost any con - certainly longer than any still-running con - and after enough time here they put me on panels! And here they are:
- Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller
Sat 05:30 pm / Athens - Sheraton
Panelists: Darin M. Bush, Michael J. Martinez, S.M. Stirling, Anthony Francis, Jack Campbell
This panel discusses the real science behind time travel, as well as how these scientific theories can place both challenging and rewarding demands on the stories we tell. Time dilation, the grandfather paradox, and more will be explained as we discuss the stories that reference these theories.
- Partners: Collaborating on Your Novel
Sun 11:30 am / Embassy CD - Hyatt
Panelists: Nancy Knight, Janny Wurts, Anthony Francis, Clay and Susan Griffith, Gordon Andrews, Ilona Andrews
When writers collaborate, the results can be great--or horrible. How do you insure that your collaboration turns out well?
- Plotting or Plodding?
Sun 02:30 pm / Embassy CD - Hyatt
Panelists: Janny Wurts, Anthony Francis, Lee Martindale, Richard Kadrey, Laura Anne Gilman, Melissa F Olson
It's the story, stupid! Everybody loves a great story. This panel discusses how to create that unforgettable story roiling within you.
- Magic Practitioners in Urban Fantasy: Witches and Warlocks
Mon 10:00 am / Chastain 1-2 - Westin
Panelists: Jeanne P Adams, David B. Coe, Linda Robertson, Kevin O. McLaughlin, Anthony Francis, Melissa F Olson
Witches and warlocks in the genre range from being an accepted part of their communities to the most feared. Our panel of authors will discuss the characteristics of those in their works.
- Write a Damn Good Book
Mon 11:30 am / Embassy CD - Hyatt
Panelists: Bill Fawcett, Peter David, E.K. Johnston, Diana Peterfreund, Anthony Francis
Writers worry about all sorts of things, but the first thing to worry about is writing a great book. Here's how.
Other fun things at the con are the Parade, the Masquerade, performances by the Atlanta Radio Theater Company, and, of course, The Cruxshadows. So come on down and hang out with 80,000 fans of fantasy and science fiction! Some of them may become your new best friends.
DD: Do you have any one bit of advice for aspiring writers? AF: Write. Just write. Don’t worry about perfection, or getting published, or even about pleasing anyone else: just write. Write to the end of what you start, and only then worry about what to do with it. In fact, don’t even worry about finishing everything—don’t be afraid to try anything. Artists know they need to fill a sketchbook before sitting down to create a masterwork, but writers sometimes get trapped trying to polish their first inspiration into a final product. Don’t get trapped on the first hill! Whip out your notebook and write. Write morning pages. Write diary at the end of the day. Write a thousand starts to stories, and if one takes flight, run with it with all the abandon you have in you. Accept all writing, especially your own. Just write. Write.That's it. To read more, check out the interview here, or see all my Daily Dragon mentions at Dragon Con here, or check out my interviewer Nancy Northcott's site here. Onward! -the Centaur
Applied Plotonium Monterey - Sunday 10:00 AMDavid Colby is the author of the hard science fiction young adult novel DEBRIS DREAMS (think "The Hunger Games meets Gravity") and proposed the panel to explore his love of making the science in science fiction not suck. In addition to David and me, we've also shanghaied, er, convinced two of our mutual friends to join in: writer and chemist Michael Tierney from the Treehouse Writers will join as a panelist, and the writer and computer scientist Roger Que from Write to the End will serve as our moderator. Drop in - you'll enjoy yourself! -the CentaurApplied Plotonium is a discussion and series of examples of worlds that are, in general, 100% scientifically accurate save for a SINGLE element of applied plotonium - a single element or feature that is downright fantastical. Eagerly explores extrapolation ending in exposition!Presenter: David ColbyModerator: Roger Que Panelists: Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney
Q: In your story “The Fall of the Falcon” the main character is female, but she has a male name, Jeremiah Willstone. Why is that? AF: It’s more than just gender bending: it’s an outward sign of their society’s aggressive approach to women’s liberation. I wanted to tell a steampunk story about a young Victorian female soldier, but the Victorians didn’t have women soldiers – we’ve only recently started to allow them in our military. So I imagined a world where that wasn’t just a little bit different, but comprehensively different – a world where women’s liberation came a century early, and with twice as many brains working on hard problems, they were more advanced in 1908 than we are today. But I needed a way to communicate that in the story, and decided that the women in Jeremiah’s family took male names to try to achieve gender equality. With her history written into her name, I now had the storytelling power to discuss that issue as much as I wanted to – or let it slide into the background until someone innocently asks the question, “So, Jeremiah is female, but has a male name. Why is that?”To read more, check out my interview, and also check out the podcast on Sage and Savant! -the Centaur